Ball in Manchin's Court
The Wall Street Journal reports Democrats Put Build Back Better in Joe Manchin’s Court, emphasis mine.
Democrats are increasingly willing to accept whatever child-care, healthcare and climate package that Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) would support as they return to Washington this week, hoping to salvage elements of the party’s economic agenda after months of failed negotiations.
Party lawmakers have started to change their attitude toward the package as they grapple with the possibility of failing to convert their narrow control of Congress into progress on major party goals. Some have moved away from insisting that the package include particular priorities, instead advocating for the party to notch a result with Mr. Manchin ahead of the midterm elections.
“Democrats can’t let our disappointment get in the way of progress on something we’ve worked hard to achieve,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.), who is running for Senate. Many Democrats are eager to start piecing together legislation after Mr. Manchin’s rejection of the House-passed Build Back Better bill put talks on ice for weeks. In a West Virginia broadcast interview, Mr. Manchin said talks had restarted on the bill, adding that he was primarily focused on a separate effort on bipartisan elections legislation.
“There’s a lot of conversations going on, they’ve been reaching out. We haven’t sat down physically and started any negotiations,” Mr. Manchin said on Thursday. “I think taking care of our voting and protecting our right to vote and protecting the ballot box is the most important, urgent thing we have right now.”
Reasons Time May Have Passed
- Senator Bernie Sanders is calling for up or down votes on every idea. “The current direction that we have followed for the past five months has failed. We’ve got to move in a new direction,” Mr. Sanders said.
- Senator Manchin has other priorities, especially voting.
- The House Progressive Caucus will be loathe to accept some of Manchin's requirements.
- Another potential government shutdown is in the works. The 2021 settlement extended government funding through February 18. That will be the top priority for the next two weeks.
- Biden pledged to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court but has of yet selected anyone. The Senate confirmation hearings will take a while.
- Some Democrats still insist on removing the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deductions and the expanded child tax credit. A group of Senate Democrats wrote a letter to Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris last week calling on them to continue an expansion of the child tax credit in the legislation.
2022 Congressional Calendar
Deal Still Possible
Whatever gets done will likely have to get done by the end of July.
In August and October the House is not in session although Speaker Nancy Pelosi could call them back.
There is still time, but the best shots are March, May, June, and July. There is too much other business in February.
Bipartisan Group Targets Election Reform
Republicans in recent weeks have started talking about making changes to the Electoral Count Act in an effort to stop a repeat of what happened following the 2020 election. Then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, had urged then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject the Electoral College votes from some states, which he declined to do. That same day, the Capitol was overrun by a pro-Trump mob seeking to stop the certification of the election victory of President Biden, a Democrat.
Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine), who is leading the bipartisan effort, said Thursday she was encouraged by the interest from colleagues from both parties in overhauling the law. Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine), who is leading the bipartisan effort, said Thursday she was encouraged by the interest from colleagues from both parties in overhauling the law.
Overturning the Next Election
If the concern is stealing the Presidency, then fix the Electoral Count Act said the WSJ in Overturning the Next Election on January 4, 2022.
The anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is Washington’s theme of the week, and waves of righteous anger will roll across the Mall. We agree the riot was disgraceful, but then why not rewrite the law that encouraged Donald Trump’s supporters to think Congress could overturn the 2020 election?
We’re referring to the Electoral Count Act, the ambiguous 19th-century statute that purports to allow for a majority of Congress to disqualify a state’s electors after the Electoral College has voted. Congress’s certification of presidential election results should be a technicality, but Mr. Trump misled supporters into believing Vice President Mike Pence and Congress could overturn Joe Biden’s victory, leading to the Jan. 6 march on the Capitol.
The effort wasn’t close to succeeding, with only eight Senators objecting to the results in any states, though 139 Republicans did in the House. No Senators voted to object to enough states to deprive President Biden of the 270 electoral votes he needed to win. Presiding over the Senate, Mr. Pence properly understood his limited constitutional role and resisted Mr. Trump’s pressure to intervene. He was one of the heroes of that day.
Still, Jan. 6 was the most significant abuse of the law to date and part of a growing trend. A smaller number of congressional Democrats used the Electoral Count Act to object to both of George W. Bush’s victories as well as Donald Trump’s in 2016.
The Electoral Count Act was an attempt to avoid the mess that followed the contested 1876 Hayes-Tilden election, but its ambiguous language has made it open to abuse. In these polarized times, both parties could use the law in the future as an excuse to attempt to overturn an election in the House and Senate.
Congress shouldn’t have even the appearance of this power. The Framers didn’t want the executive branch beholden to Congress, which is why they designed an Electoral College to elect the President. They gave state legislatures the power to certify electoral votes, as they do according to the popular vote count in each state. Though the Electoral Count Act has never been tested in court, in our view it is unconstitutional.
That's what needs to be fixed, but what Progressives demand is far removed.
And it's unclear what Manchin is actually referring to when he says “I think taking care of our voting and protecting our right to vote and protecting the ballot box is the most important, urgent thing we have right now.”
Fixing the Voting Rights Act should be a simple process. But somehow these things never are.
Look for Elizabeth Warren and the Senate Progressives to possibly demand more than Senators Manchin and Krysten Sinema are willing to go along with.
This could be done in a week, or two months.
Meanwhile, Senator Sanders wants to try something new. The House is torn on the environment, on child care, and on on removing the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deductions.
Has Time Realistically Expired?
If the bickering and demands continue, yes it has. Will Democrats salvage something?
This is what it comes down to.
I still think "something" is likely, but depending on what that something is, I'd rather see nothing.
This post originated at MishTalk.Com.
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